WebMD — A Health App for people looking for answers.

I use the WebMD app before I see my doctor. — An interviewee

WebMD is best known as a health information services website, which publishes content regarding health and health care topics, including a symptom checklist, pharmacy information, drug information, blogs by physicians on specific topics, and allows users a place to store personal medical information. The company has been a source of health care information online since 1996. WebMD was also one of the first apps to be released after the launch of Apple’s App store in 2008.

The Team

Our WebMD Group.Maggi Pattilllo (top left), project manager. Alice Wang (top right), researcher. And myself bottom left — Videographer,

The dynamic of our team was a great one; we all brought our own skill sets into this collaborative process. We also shared responsibilities for most of the project materials.

The Problem

When WebMD came out in the 1990’s, they were one of the only websites to offer health information services. Since then, there have been many health apps competing with WebMD. The company is realizing that though they have a massive collection of content, it is difficult for users to comb through all of the infomation. Users want a WebMD experience that is more personal — specific to their needs.

We wanted to figure out who would be our targeted users. Our team thought it would be best to conduct a screener survey. This tactic made it easier to determine who searches health concerns online and seeks expert guidance.

We had over 30 participants take our survey. They were a variety of ages, races and genders. Based on who we interviewed we were able to narrow it down to two active user personas.

Based on our research, there are two types of people that use WebMD:

The Researcher — This is the person who doesn’t go to the doctor unless the problem is serious. They believe that visits to the doctor are too costly and time consuming.

The Expertise-seeker — This person goes to their doctor. This user consults WebMD to confirm what their doctor said or to further their research.

Our Design Process

User Flow Persona

We focused on a solution that would cater to both of these users. We believe that a paper application was the most effective method so that we could make immediate changes with a pencil. We also wanted the app to have a bot that interacts with users and gives a more intimate user experience.

The first iteration of the app was hard for users to understand. In the second iteration we added more options for people to choose from. The third iteration focused on making it easier for the user to start a question over if need be.

Our team came up with a way to fix these problems using a high fidelity app invasion. This process saved us time because we had our paper mock up first. All we had to do was make some fixes and it didnot take that long.

Future Goals (Next Steps)

Our short term goal is to optimize the mobile experience for the users. Our team thought having a “quick answers” option would serve people looking to receive answers quickly.

The long term goal is to make an A. I. function that will interact with the user on a more personalized level. An example is a talking bot like a Siri for iPhone.